Exploring Endodontics: Split vs. Cracked Teeth

What does endodontic mean? The prefix “endo” means “inside”, and therefore endodontics refers to procedures that occur inside a tooth. This would include procedures that involve the root and pulp of the tooth. General dentists can perform most of these procedures themselves since it is a part of schooling to become a dentist. However, in certain cases and to receive the finest treatment, you may be referred to an endodontist who specializes in such procedures. An endodontist needs to complete an extra two years of schooling in order to be able to perform the most complex endodontic surgeries.

Can a Split Tooth Be Saved Intact?

The short answer is no, but before you surf to another site to get a second opinion, give us a moment to explain the difference between a split tooth and a cracked tooth (which can be saved). We will also discuss treatment options for a split tooth that may, depending on the location of the split, be able to preserve part of the tooth.

The Difference Between Split and Cracked

A cracked tooth starts at the surface of the tooth and extends downward vertically. Sometimes the crack may even reach below the gum line! With the help of a root canal and a full crown, the tooth can be salvaged. However, what happens if the crack continues downward and completely through the tooth- separating it into two segments?

This is now called a split tooth. This generally occurs when some has a cracked tooth for a long time, and either ignores it or perhaps never realizes the crack has occurred. Often, extraction is the only treatment option. Endodontic options, however, may be available if the tooth is split off to one side, leaving the majority of the tooth intact. What can be done?

Endodontic Treatment for a Split Tooth

If only a small portion of the tooth is split from the rest, the tooth still cannot be saved intact, but the larger portion of the tooth may be salvaged. The procedure may involve a root canal, gum surgery, removal of the part of the tooth that has broken away, and other forms of endodontic treatment.

In the end, a permanent crown may be able to preserve the larger portion of the tooth. Again, this is entirely dependent on the extent and location of the split. Thus, if you know that you have a cracked tooth, it is far better to take preventative care and visit a dentist early before a situation becomes worse. Your endodontist is hear to help!

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Exploring Endodontics: Split vs. Cracked Teeth
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Exploring Endodontics: Split vs. Cracked Teeth
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What does endodontic mean? The prefix “endo” means “inside”, and therefore endodontics refers to procedures that occur inside a tooth. This would include procedures that involve the root and pulp of the tooth. Learn more about split and cracked teeth with Dr. Martin Levin of Bethesda-Chevy Chase Root Canal Specialists.
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